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New Zealand U-17s confirmed for Panda Cup

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand Football is pleased to announce the New Zealand U-17 men’s team will compete at the Panda Cup in China next month.

The Jose Figueira coached team will compete in the Under 18 Tournament against hosts China Republic, Korea Republic and Thailand from 25 - 29 May at the Chengdu Shuangliu Sports Centre in Chengdu.

The OFC U-16 champions, who won the final last year on penalties over hosts Solomon Islands, will use the tournament to prepare for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil in October.

It is the second time that New Zealand has competed in the Panda Cup after they were invited to the inaugural event in 2014 where they played Brazil, Croatia and China.

"This is a great opportunity for our team to see where we are at internationally ahead of the World Cup," said Figueira.

"We expect we will face a tough challenge from China, Thailand and the Korea Republic and the format of the competition will be great preparation for what we will experience in Brazil.

"We are grateful to the Chengdu Football Association for this invitation and we look forward to competing in the Panda Cup for the second time."

Of the teams competing at the Panda Cup, New Zealand and the Korea Republic have qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

China Republic are the defending champions at their home tournament after they beat England, Hungary and Uruguay in fifth staging of the 2018 Panda Cup last year.

New Zealand qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the ninth time in 2019. Their best performances at the tournament have been to the Round of 16 in 2009, 2011 and 2015.

The draw will for the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be held on 31 May in Rio de Janeiro.

Match Schedule - Panda Cup

Location - Chengdu Shuangliu Sports Centre Chengdu

Match Day 1 - 25 May

Korea Republic U-18 v Thailand U-18 3pm

China PR U-18 v New Zealand U-18 7pm

Match Day 2 - 27 May

New Zealand U-18 v Korea Republic U-18 3pm

Thailand U-18 v China PR U-18 7pm

Match Day 3 - 29 May

New Zealand U-18 v Thailand U-18 3pm

China PR U-18 v Korea Republic U-18 7pm

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